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NRA overstaffed, commissioner seeks downsizing

NRA overstaffed, commissioner seeks downsizing
Athian Diing Athian, Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority speaking at the welcoming ceremony of the new finance minister on Monday. August 7, 2023 | Credit | Daniel Garang Deng/TRC

The commissioner general of the National Revenue Authority said the commission is overstaffed and has asked the newly appointed minister, Dr. Barnaba Bak, to help in procedural staff downsizing.

Speaking on Monday during the reception of the new minister of finance and planning, Athian Diing said overstaffing is one the major problems that is dragging the commission back from saving resources.

Athian said Bak’s predecessor, Dr. Dier Tong, was already in the process of screening the staff for the purpose of downsizing and asked Bak to pick up the process.

“I want you the minister to help me in first things first. The previous minister had just formed a ministerial order for the re-screening of the employees of the NRA because we have the issues of overstaffing in the NRA and that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible if NRA is going to succeed,” said Athian.

The commissioner general stated that after screening, the remaining staffs will then be train on widen and enhance tax collection to meet the standard revenue collection.

“…we would be able to address the issues of training,” he explained.

Athian plans to broaden the tax collection which requires competent and committed civil servants to carry out an honest service to the country.

“We are going to start widening the tax base in South Sudan so many people can be paying taxes. So many people are not paying taxes. Maybe the only people that actually pay taxes regularly are you (working class) here because of the PIT. Nobody else pays taxes,” he continued.

“So, where are the other population?” Athian asked.

The commissioner general mentioned the concern of overstaffing in his institution and needs for downsizing and training after the Vice Chancellor of the University of Juba, Prof. John Akec, challenged the government to educate civil servants and ensure they are competent enough to deliver the needed services.

“Civil servants need to be well-educated, well competent, and well-paid than anybody in the country…The way they are recruited and what are their qualifications is important,” Akec argued.

He advised the minister to plan on how to raise the standard of civil service through human resources and salary structure.

“Planning is not happening in the ministry of finance and planning; we only have finance, but we don’t have planning,” he said.

“You know, the doctors are actually working as volunteers. I was there the other day. They get 60 thousand, 30,000 from the ministry of finance and then 30,000 from the Ministry of Health. Please, How can you pay a medical doctor 60,000 and you expect them to work?” He asked. “They are just working as volunteers in the hospital.”